What hat are you wearing?

A businessman overwhelmed by too much responsibility - wearing too many hats. Isolated on white.The journey from Founder to CEO is neither straightforward nor easy. It’s marked by ups and downs that resemble a heart rate monitor.

One thing is for sure, when you start, you wear many hats. As your company grows in size, complexity, revenue, and costs, some of those hats gets passed onto other members of your team…ideally.

But, what do you do to avoid confusion when you as the Founder & CEO are communicating on a certain topic and others are confused because they aren’t sure what hat you are currently wearing?

Example. Your team is discussing an investment in a lead generation software system. You are at the meeting asking your team questions about how the recommended software fits into the long-term strategy the group talked about last week. You shake your head with the implication that what you are hearing is pleasing to your ears. This is when your team may see you wearing your CEO hat.

Later on in the meeting, you start to worry about some hidden costs in this software system and begin to ask some hard-hitting questions about how those costs might fit into the budget. You don’t have a CFO on your team and they start to assume you are flip-flopping on your initial “endorsement.”

The meeting ends because you need to dash to an investor meeting. The team is confused about what you think and it paralyzes them from taking action.

This scenario happens a lot in startups. It’s pretty normal.

You wear many hats. Often times your team may be confused by what hat you are wearing.

How can you avoid this confusion?

You may want to consider a simple hack. Intentionally put your hand to your head simulating the action of taking off a hat. You might say, “I’m taking off my CEO hat for the moment and I’m putting on my CFO hat so we can discuss a different angle on the subject.”

Along with this, it’s often helpful to be clear about whether you or the group has made a decision yet.

What works for you?

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